The battle of Europe, in Britain

The fifth round of the European Touring Car Championship takes place this weekend in Britain, at Donington Park. Gabriele Tarquini currently leads the championship, on 44 points, ahead of British rookie Andy Priaulx. Dirk and Jorg Muller occupy third and fourth respectively, while BMW has a comfortable lead in the manufacturers championship.

The battle of Europe, in Britain

"I have high hopes for Donington," says Tarquini, "because I like the track a lot and it definitely suits our car better than Brno. Last year Donington marked my return to the ETCC and to Alfa Romeo, and I was pleased to finish on the podium. Now I have a much better feeling with the car, so, despite the 30kg of ballast I will be carrying, I am confident we can be competitive."

Also on the bill this weekend is the FIA GT Championship and, after missing Pergusa and Brno, the Formula Renault V6 Eurocup. The Renault Sport Clio Trophy and Clio Elf International Cup are also included on the schedule of support races.

Matteo Bobbi and Thomas Biaggi are currently leading the FIA GT Championship, on 40 points, with the BMS Scuderia Italia team top of the constructors.

British sportscar ace, Jamie Campbell-Walter, has recovered from the foot injury he suffered in his big off in qualifying for the Le mans 24 Hours. This season he is sharing the #14 Lister Storm in the GT championship with 21-year-old Nathan Kinch. The duo were quickest in first practice today (Friday), followed by the #7 Graham Nash Saleen S7-R driven by Erdos and Newton.

"The track is rather similar to Zolder," said JCW, "in that by the end of three hours, the brakes are getting quite long and spongy, and you can start locking up. If you are racing hard into the last thirty minutes or so, like I was at Brno, this can be a crucial factor. But I am really looking forward to it."

In all the events will be the added pressure felt by the British stars to prove their mettle in front of a partisan home crowd. "Obviously we are looking forward to this meeting and I'm eager to please the British fans," says Andy Priaulx, "but I don't think my knowledge of the circuit will be an advantage.

"The competition is so tough and the level of the drivers so high that even the few who don't know Donington will learn it quickly. We'll have two tough and very close races, and having 40 kg of ballast onboard won't help me."

Tom Coronel leads the ETCC Independents Trophy by one point, despite missing the meeting in Brno due to a clashing commitment. The Dutchman will be back at the wheel of his Carly Motors BMW 320i this weekend.

A full appraisal of all the weekend's action will appear in next week's AUTOSPORT magazine. Click through to autosport.com for GT and ETCC news as it happens.

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